High-flow transtracheal insufflation treats obstructive sleep apnea: A pilot study

Hartmut Schneider, Daniel J. O'Hearn, Karen Leblanc, Philip L. Smith, Christopher P. O'Donnell, David W. Eisele, J. H. Peter, Alan R. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


To determine the effect of transtracheal insufflation (TTI) on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), we examined breathing patterns in five tracheostomized patients with OSA at varying TTI flow rates when breathing with a closed tracheostomy. The breathing patterns and polysomnographic responses to air insufflation were studied as TTI was increased from 0 to 15 L/min for brief periods of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep (Experiment 1). The frequency of sleep-disordered breathing episodes remained high at 0 and 5 L/min (87.0 ± 33.7 and 79.4 ± 24.4 episodes per hour NREM) and decreased significantly to 41.3 ± 31.5 and 43.4 ± 31.4 episodes/h NREM sleep at rates of 10 and 15 L/min, respectively (p = 0.003). At high levels of TTI (10 and 15 L/min), obstructive apneas and hypopneas decreased but periodic laryngeal obstructions were induced during stage 1 NREM sleep. To prevent laryngeal obstructions, a servo-control system was used to briefly interrupt TTI during these events. When this system was implemented for more prolonged periods of sleep (Experiment 2, total sleep time 176.6 ± 12.5 min), high-flow TTI (hf-TTI, 15 L/min) led to an overall reduction in the combined frequency of obstructive apneas and laryngeal obstructions from 63.8 ± 21.8 to 10.7 ± 9.1 (p < 0.03) and was associated with a marked reduction in arousal frequency from 60.0 ± 26.0 to 8.3 ± 5.4/h in NREM sleep, and from 67.5 ± 3.5 to 0 ± 0/h in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Our findings demonstrate that hf-TTI stabilized breathing patterns in apneic patients, and was safe and efficacious for prolonged periods of sleep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1869-1876
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'High-flow transtracheal insufflation treats obstructive sleep apnea: A pilot study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this